Planning a family trip can be difficult, especially when considering activities for your teenagers. Teens are often caught in the middle while on vacation. They feel too old to play with the younger kids, but too young to do the more adult activities. If you’re ever short on ideas on how to make your vacation perfect for everyone in the family, including your teens, check out our list of activities that your teens will love.

1. Ziplining

Teens love adventure and excitement, and it doesn’t get much more exciting than ziplining. You can find ziplines almost anywhere, from amusement parks to forested mountain ranges, and even underground caves. However, ziplines can be a little expensive, so if you’re going to spend the extra money on this activity, be sure to pick one with a view. There are often multiple options for ziplines with varying lengths and speeds. Choose the longest and fastest zipline to get the most bang for your buck and an added dose of fun.

Zipline through a forest canopy, like this zipline at ArborTrek, Vermont.

2. Rafting

Similar to ziplining, you can find raft trips almost anywhere, especially in scenic locations like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, or the Tetons in Wyoming. Most places offer rafting trips for every family type. Try out a scenic dinner raft trip in Jackson Hole for a more quiet, nature-oriented experience, or go whitewater rafting in Colorado for a more intense experience. With rafting, it’s easy to control the level of adrenaline in order to match the mood of your family while still satisfying your teen’s craving for adventure.

Take a scenic float along the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park for a fantastic view and a chance at seeing wildlife.

3. Let your teen plan a meal

There’s almost nothing that teenagers love more than food, so give your teen some responsibility and let them plan a meal one night of your trip. Give them a budget and let them pick a restaurant in the area, or research local cuisine and let them prepare their own meal. This method works especially well outside of the country or in a region with strong ethnic tastes such as New Orleans.

Traditional Mardi Gras Cuisine is a must try if you’re looking to expand your teen’s palate.

4. Challenges

If you’re looking for a way to shake up your trip and add some fun, come up with some creative dares or challenges for your teens! Make a challenge list with options such as learn the local language or slang, talk to a local, or face a fear, such as roller coasters or eating strange food. Accomplishing these types of challenges will improve your teen’s self esteem and encourage them to step outside their comfort zone, both of which will greatly enhance your trip.

Making attempts to step outside of your comfort zone is a perfect bonding moment with your children!

5. GoPro

For those of you who are not aware, GoPro is a camera and accessories brand which sells pocket-sized cameras capable of taking high-quality videos & pictures. The appeal of a GoPro is not only its quality and size, but the durability of its cameras, which are waterproof and built to withstand big falls, knocks, and generally being thrown around. They also come with many helpful accessories, such as floating cases, various mounts, and remote controls that make it even easier to take cool videos and action shots. Although GoPros can get pretty pricey, they are a great option to let your teenager be in charge of the memory-making on a trip without having to worry about ending up with a broken or water-damaged camera. 

GoPro makes it easy to take exciting pictures with various accessories and a high-quality camera

6. Scuba/Snorkeling

Scuba diving and snorkeling are both great ways to experience the ocean on a tropical vacation because they offer a dose of adventure while also being family-friendly. Scuba diving, which is definitely the more intense of the two options, requires certification, so if your teens are interested in that, be sure to get them certified in time. Snorkeling offers most of the benefits of scuba diving without the hassle of certification and it will satisfy your teen’s desire for excitement while also allowing younger kids to participate. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t even have to leave the U.S. to get some awesome scuba/snorkeling views in. 

Snorkel in hot spots in the US, such as Crystal River, Florida.

7. Unconventional Travel

When exploring a new location, it’s often easiest to take a cab or rental car to your destination. However, using unconventional ways to get places is a great way to mix up your regular routine and add some fun, which will surely be appreciated by your teen. For example, Chicago offers water taxi services, and many cities have bike rentals which will allow you to tour a city on your own time and get exercise while you’re at it, something your teen will definitely enjoy. 

Rental bike brands like Divvy make it easy to create your own tour through a city

8. Hikes

Hiking is a great way to get to know a region while stretching your legs and getting some fresh air. Pick a scenic route to entertain your teen, or give them an added dose of independence by letting them pick the route! Hiking works best in mountainous or forested regions, but can be adapted for any location. Try a sunrise stroll on the beach or desert hike in Arizona (just be sure to bring plenty of water!)

You can find great hikes anywhere, but the best locations are the ones with a view, such as in Sedona, Arizona.

9. Share a moment

The last item on our list is sharing a moment with your teen, which may be the most important of all. Being a teenager in the modern world can be confusing at best and downright frightening at worst, so take the time off to spend some quality time with your teenager and reconnect. Turn off your devices and go for a walk, out to dinner, or even just a long drive and talk to them for a while. You might be surprised at how enlightening even a fifteen minute conversation can be when you’re really listening. 


Related: Here are ways to successfully go on cruise vacations with teenagers or  have fun family for all in Muskegon, Michigan.

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